One week on from What A Woman Needs, I am still struggling to find the words to accurately describe my experience.
What A Woman Needs: An empowering women-only event created by Birmingham born singer songwriter Monique Thomas. After positive feedback from the first event held earlier this year, Monique brought the next event forward at the request of the women who attended.
The evening began with an open exhibition from the Young Motherhood Project. Men and women were invited to view images taken by Jendella, a London-based photographer who sought to challenge existing stereotypes about young mothers. What A Woman Needs began on time at 8pm and attendees viewed exclusive footage of interviews filmed for the Young Motherhood Project. Intriguing and emotive, the room fell silent as we heard heartfelt testimonies from the featured women, some of whom attended, and were able to interact with the audience in a good Q&A session.
At the beginning, we had Polaroid photos taken. We watched a short film about “What do you see when you look in the mirror?” and then asked to write our thoughts underneath our pictures. This prompted some discussion around self-perception and self-love. The Polaroids were then taken and placed carefully on the wall to form the letters WAWN (What A Woman Needs).
I found the first two speakers particularly moving. Two best friends from the south of the country shared their story of the unlikely friendship between a ‘church girl’ and ‘bad girl’, overcoming abuse, family and love. It was their first time having spoken to such a large group and their nerves were evident, but the female-only (minus the bar staff and photographer) environment was supportive and eased them into a zone of storytelling. The sincerity and love in their friendship was beautiful to see, definitely too women who live authentically, as was the theme of the night.
There were a range of speakers, each woman strong in her stance and powerful in her words, sharing moments of sadness, laughter and strength. We enjoyed beautiful music performances from Affiejam and Monique Thomas herself, with an interactive song whereby the audience was invited to make beats and sing along. It was incredibly fun and the hours flew by past.
Once I had eaten my free popcorn, indulged in an evening of inspiration and authenticity, bought a cupcake from a 17 year old entrepreneur and waited patiently for the announcement of the winners for the raffle tickets, I was ready to go home and reflect on What A Woman Needs.